View From The Voice: Secure schools breed secure learning-Are mass shootings becoming a norm?


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     After every mass shooting, the biggest debates include gun laws and safety. While these are important issues to discuss, there are many other factors to consider when talking about how to keep classrooms safe. We at The Voice believe the Parkland, Florida school shooting was a tragedy and while it’s important to give friends and families time to grieve, serious action must be taken to prevent horrible occurrences like this one from happening again.

     In the wake of a mass shooting, people tend to place the blame on mental health issues. It is crucial to note that people with mental disorders are not all violent and most mass shooters do not suffer from any mental health issues.

     Dr. James Alan Fox, a criminologist with Northeastern University says, “There’s not really a correlation [between mental illness and mass shootings…] We like to think that these people are different from the rest of us. We want a simple explanation and if we just say they’re mentally ill, case closed. Because of how fearful, dangerous and deadly their actions are, we really want to distance ourselves from it and relegate it to illness.”

     However, schools should have more frequent discussions when students are going through tough situations.

     High school students find themselves in high-stress situations every day and often don’t have someone to talk to. The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) recommends that school districts employ at least one school psychologist for every 500 to 700 students. But due to budget cuts, many schools have been forced to provide one psychologist for every 2000 to 3000 students.

     Prioritizing mental health can help students feel less isolated from the world and find more success in school, leading them away from the path where they come back and participate in heinous acts of aggression.

     We at The Voice believe one of the biggest changes that must be made is in the sector of school security. High schools are often lacking in this under-appreciated area. While the idea of increased security measures in school might put some on edge, controlled access to the building, metal detectors and guards can at least serve as a deterrent for potential shooters.

     The Parkland shooter, being a former student, knew when gates and doors would be unlocked and open, and that pulling the fire alarm would cancel security measures that took place during a code red.

     The school administration is discussing with the fire department if having an override system for the fire alarms would be a viable option for the future.

     In the end the people who have to make change will be public officials. Unfortunately, many officials deter these conversations by saying that this is a time for grieving, not policy.

     The high school students who survived the event disagree. They have reached out to the public through interviews and social media and have demanded action that will prevent shootings like this one from happening again.

     Protests have been planned for March where students will walk out of school and wear orange to hopefully continue the debates that circle this topic.

    As students all over the nation prepare for their fight to live, we at The Voice agree that action must be taken and soon.

~ The Voice